Monday, August 1, 2011

George L. Smith State Parks

With kayaks atop the jeep & the Casita in tow we arrived at GLS located near the little area of Twin City GA. The park covers 1,634 acres and a 412 acre lake which is lined with beautiful cypress trees. 

The covered bridge/dam located across from the park office houses   a gristmill which once served as cotton, grain and sawmill. The 1880 operations is still used to grind meal which can be purchased at the office. 

 The weather was clear and free of the smoke which has blanketed areas around home. The wildfires which have burned for weeks around the GA/FL line weren’t affecting this area. The clean air was enough to make the trip worthwhile.

After setting up camp, which included putting up a new screen room, it was time for the Ms. Georgia and me to enjoy some lawn chair racing.   

With the majority of sites directly access the lake this is a wonderful place for kayaks, canoes, paddle boats or boats with small trolling motors.  (The use of outboard motors is not permitted on the lake).

 On this trip the lake was low due to the lack of rain the past few weeks; however we didn’t let this dampen our spirit. Over the next few days we spent a great deal of time paddling around the lake, fishing and taking pictures. Fishing wasn’t as good as is normal due to the drop in the water but the lawn chair racing was outstanding..

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Crooked River State Park - St. Marys, Georgia

Crooked River State Park, is located near St. Marys, GA, and overlooks the Satilla River. The main loop thought the campground has open campsites shaded by tall pine trees, while the smaller loop has secluded sites separated by palmettos, tall pines, and undergrowth.
The park was clean and well kept but we didn’t experience the interaction with the park staff like we have at other parks. Nor did the staff/host make frequent trips around the campground to chat with campers who were out and about. You just didn’t get the “warm welcome, we’re glad you came” feeling you get at most Georgia State Parks. 

We do recommend a visit to the Nature Center. The lady who cares for the animals is very friendly to visitors and her devotion to the animals is obvious. It is apparent that she enjoys the educational aspect of her job. 

We were excited to see another Casita pull in on Friday afternoon. It belonged to a couple from around Lake City, FL. They must have been out exploring the area because we didn’t see them but once.   

The no-see-ums, which are microscopic gnats that bite, were out in full force!!! If you were outside, you had to keep moving or be eaten alive. We purchased 6 types of bug spray and a bottle of skin so soft; none of which worked. Seems no one else   know of anything that repelled these little varmints. 
To the delight of Ms. Georgia, we spent our outdoor time on the move, hiking the trails and enjoying walks around the park. She was pleased to make friends with a spaniel named Pepper, who was camping with his family from WV. I think she is overcoming her fear of other dogs and finding it nice to have other friends to explore the woods.

I had given-up on bug repellent because it just wasn’t working on the No-see-ums. This was a big mistake! With all the hiking we were doing on the trails in through the wood, I got redbugs a.k.a. chiggers…lots of them…gave-up counting at 100 bites. I took a hot shower, scrubbed…really scrubbed with a very soapy bath cloth then painted the spots with nail polish, which will suffocate them. Thank goodness I had clear polish on hand. Yes I even painted the ones on my face and in my hair!!! 

Despite the bugs, we had an enjoyable relaxing time. We do plan to camp here again just not at the height of bug season (cool days of early spring and late fall days). It is good to have a campground so close to home that makes you feel as if you are miles away.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It Feels Like Spring

The temperature was expected to reach 80 degrees and it was a three day weekend, so I left work an hour early. Sure glad of that because when we arrived at Laura Walker there were only 4 of the 44 sites left. One on each end of the playground, one that looked more like a tent site, and the one we selected which was on the inside loop and across the street from one of the two bathhouses.

It was a very spacious site and one we may very well stay on again when we visit this park. It wasn't long after we arrived that all the sites were taken and there were people camping in the area between the campground and the cabins. I guess everyone had the same idea as we did about getting out and enjoying the first taste of spring.

I am not sure if it was a result of the past couple of weeks being stressful or if it was a result of such nice weather after such a cold winter, but by the time we set up camp and ate dinner, I was so relaxed, I was ready for bed.

We had spotted another Casita when we had arrived, so the next day when we saw the owners outside we walked over to say hello. They were from outside Athens, GA and did most of their camping with their son who also owned a Casita. Having been here all week they were getting ready to pack-up and head home.

As always we had a lots of folks stop to ask questions about our little egg and of course take a peek inside. While we were out walking Ms. Georgia, we visited with a few folks like John & Mary from Melrose, FL.

Our days were spend walking, reading, & watching other campers. Nights were fro roasting marshmallows over the campfire & looking at the stars. I think we were too relaxed to have used the kayaks if we had brought them along...

The weather folks sure got it right this weekend! The only thing that could have been better was if I had taken a couple of days off and had not had to head home so soon.

As were were heading out Monday afternoon, a Casita from N.C.was pulling in. We visited with them for a bit and learned they had given up camping when it got to be to much to manage a traditional travel trailer. Not long they ran across their "new to them" egg and now Nancy and Don are on the road again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gold Head State Park - December 25, 2010

Gold Head Branch State Park is located near Keystone, FL. Once you enter the park, keep your eyes open for the Moss Man!! The maybe lingering near the road..he will surely be watching for you.

This is one of those parks where sites are selected/assigned when your reservation is made. If you have never visited the park, you don't know what you are getting until you arrive. Well when we arrived we discovered the water hookup was on one side and the electrical was on the other. The site was also very shaded, which is good for summer but not for cold weather. I found a couple of empty sites with all the hookups on the same side, made a call to the office and was happy to discover one of them was available. Within a short time we were set-up and ready to explore the park.

We had spotted the moss man when we had arrived, so we went back to take a few pictures. If you follow the path next to him, it is a short walk to a beautiful lake known as Sheeler Lake. This is one of five lakes in the park, one of which offers swimming in the summer. Big Johnson Lake shows the most impact from the lack of rain.

All the points of interest are well marked such as the Gorge Overlook, Water Tower, Ravine Stariway and Mill Site. From the overlook you can see how deep this natural gorge is. If you take the trail for the Ravine, you  will find wide concrete steps with several platforms leading down. At the bottom is a stream which is created from ground water, this is not a spring and should not be drank!!! You will also find two hiking trails at the bottom of the gorge. With 2,000 acres you should find plenty to keep you busy.

Michelle, one of the park rangers hosted a sunset "Gifts of Nature" class. We watched the sand cranes as they came in to roost & listened to them "talking" to each other. As part of the class, Michelle showed us lots of thing she had collected from different locations when she has worked such as rattlesnake rattlers, fish jawbones, dolphin vertebra.

The weather was cold when we arrived, but the following day it warmed up to 60 degrees for the high. That night the rain moved in and the temperatures started do drop. Overnight  started running around 28 degrees and 48 to 50 during the day. Cold but not all that bad for winter camping well until one gas bottle ran out and we discover the second one was very low. We woke one morning to a 21 degree wind chill and saw a few snowflakes...Yep, in sunny Florida! We were worried the roads would ice over with the coming rain, which this part of the country is not equipped to handle of we packed-up and headed home.
                                      THE LEGEND OF THE FAMOUS
                                           GOLD HEAD MOSS MAN
                            No one knows where the moss man calls home
                                  He just showed up one day all alone.

                            A strange glowing light was seen after dark
                             In late October...he appeared in the park.

                            In various locations the moss man's been seen
                           But most frequently, he appears about the ravine.

                             He seems to be quite timid and shy
                          He stands perfectly still as people go by.

                               At night when light hits his eyes,
                        They glow red and blue from his surprise.

                           No one is certain there is only one
                             There may a mate, or even a son.

                         So should you spot him near the ravine
                        Or anywhere else that he might be seen

                        Feel free to take a picture or a snapshot,
                         But always remember to touch him not.

                    For we know not his origin or if he will stay
                       But we sure don't want him running away

                      He brings excitement, happiness and joy
                        To all our campers girls and boys.
         unknown author

General Coffee State Park-November 24, 2010

General Coffee State Park is located near Douglas, Georgia. There are two campgrounds within the park and both are side-by-side. All the sites are pull through, shaded, and very spacious. As we were checking out the second campground we spotted another Casita. The owners waved with as much excitement in seeing a fellow egg owner as we do. Needless to say we took the site next to them and it wasn't long before we were visiting and discussing out beloved campers.

While Jerry and Pete adjusted our awning, Delores and I sat at the table and chatted. She was telling me they from North Georgia and this was the second Casita they had owned. At about that point it hit me and I ask "were you camping at Tallulah Gorge last November????" OMG...this was the same folks who had shown us their Casita last year almost to the day. They were the reason we decided we had to have an egg camper. What are the chances of that? It was sad to learn they would be leaving the next morning, but we were glad to know we had finally found them and could thank them for our first peek at a Casita.
Ms. Georgia & South

Ms. Georgia is very friendly and loves everyone. However dogs are another matter. Once they bark at her she gets a little defensive. For this reason we have never let here get to close for fear of her getting hurt. Camped across from us was another Golden named South, who had a personality much like Ms. Georgia's. Diane, South;s mom, slowly introduced the two and soon they were best friends. They chased the ball, ran the trails, and played together until they were exhausted.

The Seventeen Mile River runs through the park, but is dried to a creek due to the lack of rain. There is also a pond next to the Heritage Village where a few people were fishing . The Village is interesting to visit. Not only does it have all the old structures you would expect but there is also lots of animals such as ducks, goats, sheep, chickens, and donkeys. A couple of ladies who work at the park prepared dinner for the campers with vegetables and chicken raised in the Heritage Garden. The food was excellent!

In addition to the nice trails this park has to offer there is a two-mile section of  paved road that is closed to traffic that is wonderful for walking or biking, especially with young kids.

Our first few days here were warm and sunny. The day before we were scheduled to leave rain moved in toward the end of the day. The following morning it was very cold. Glad it had held off until we were heading home.

This trip was well worth it, not only was the park great but we had some wonderful adventures.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

George L. Smith State Park - October 24, 2010

Returning from Cherokee, we stopped for the night at George L. Smith State Park, near Twin City, GA. Most of the sites are located next to the waters of the cypress covered lake which looks like it offers great fishing.  We parked on a site just across from another Casita which belonged to John & Nancy from Savannah. It was not long before we were chatting with these new found friends. It seems they camp here often  and say it really fills up on summer and on holidays. We can sure understand why, it is really nice. The next morning we took a tour of the park and visited the mill located near the office.  We were all ready to register for a couple of extra days but discovered a rain storm was moving in so we decided to head home.

It's All In The Name - Cram-A-Lot Inn

Most Casita owners name their eggs to give it a more personal feeling. Since ours didn't have a name when we adopted her, I decided I need to come-up with one. 
After looking at the list of names of other Casitas which was posted on the forum and reviewing those from friends/co-workers. Our little egg will be known as  is Cram-A-Lot Inn.

Cherokee, N.C. October 21 - 24 2010

We arrive at Happy Holiday R.V. Park on Hwy 19 just outside of Cherokee, N.C. for our first Egg Rally. Our campsite was located along a stream, where people were fishing for Rainbow Trout.  The campground is surrounded by mountains covered with trees showing off their fall colors. It truly beautiful but very cold.
Ray one of the host, was on hand to make sure everyone got settled in and to offer a helping hand if needed.
We were soon visiting with neighbors, Sue Ellen and Erin who were parked next to us and David and Sharon along with their dog Brandy, from a couple of sites away. Although we didn't know anyone here before we arrived, it didn't take long until we felt we were among friends and this would be a fun trip.
We enjoyed music each night provided by some of our fellow egg campers who played everything from fiddles to banjo. There were also a few tall tails told between the picking.

We started our morning off at breakfast at Granny's Restaurant, located between the campground and Cherokee. They serve a very good, all you can eat buffet. After breakfast some of us took a tour of the Casino, each vowing not to spend more than $10.00.One by one they quickly lost their money,  I went last, choosing the penny lot machines. You should have seen it. I just kept winning, and from the screaming my companions were doing you would have thought I was winning big money. I wish. I make it up to about $40 dollars before I lost anything. I know it was time to walk away ahead of the game.

During the day several of us made a trip over the see the Elk in Chattahoochee Valley near Maggie Valley We had a couple of the Elk walk within 5' of us. We visited the Heritage Village at the Smokey Mountain Visitor's Center.

We found a wonderful shop a few miles up the read from the campground that sold Crafts made local. I purchased a couple of cases of apples to take home to friends and family and earrings for myself and daughter-in-law. 

The Casita furnace does a very good job keeping her warm. Sure glad to have it on this trip!

Tallulah Gorge State Park - October 20, 2010

We are headed to our first egg rally and will stop at Tallulah Gorge for the night. Here we were in this beautiful North Georgia State Park with our Casita. We were camped on the very same site as the folks who kindly showed us their Casita back in November of last year.

This park was just a beautiful as I remembered it.  The weather was nice, clear & cool and the leaves are turning. There is so much to see and do here. I was sorry this was just a for the night and we would be leaving early the next morning.

The sites are $14.50 a night for water & sewer. They have a lot of shade. The bathhouse is very clean and warm.  There are lots of walking trails and the gorge is a must see.

After breakfast the following morning, we made a quick stop at the Forestry Service Office, which is located a mile of so up Hwy 441 from the campground. 
I purchased a Park Pass which is good National Parks.  As I recall it was under $20.00, good for life.

Class Reunion - September 24, 2010

My high school reunion is in Fitzgerald, Georgia and we are taking the Casita and will camp at Paulk's Park, which was named for Ellis Paulk, the father of a former classmate and  neighbor/childhood friends Allen Paulk. It is just outside the city limits on what I know as the Old Ocilla Hwy just down from the hospital and very convent to the local Wal-Mart.  This little campground is owned by the city and located on a small lake/pond. The trees are not yet big enough to offer any shade, but is it has full hookups for $16.00 per night.  While it was not what you would call a vacation distraction it served our needs well.

On Saturday Night I attended my class reunion at the Elks Club. That place was so beautiful when I was young.  Being there brought back many memories of dances and parties when I was growing-up. The inside was rundown like much of Fitzgerald and it seemed a lot smaller inside.
 It was wonderful seeing many of my old friends, most I had not seen since 1972 or shortly after.  There just wasn't enough time to visit with everyone before the night ended and we headed back to the camper.  I think everyone was pleased that we will have a get-together every year. As you get older you find that it isn't good to let to the years just slip away from you.

We have never let Ms. Georgia stay in the camper alone and were both worried how she would do while we were gone. She is such a good girl, I should have known she would be fine.

Rain was in the forecast for Sunday, so we packed-up early and headed home. We will go back sometime when I feel more like visiting. I am still not over the eye surgery but doctors say it could take a year to recover. 
 Note: Put  an extra water hose in the camper.  When we first arrived and were setting up camp the end came off our hose. Made a trip to Wal-Mart for a new one.

After Surgery - September 3, 2010

It's Labor Day Weekend and I feel like I have been held prisoner by this retina surgery. I has really kicked my butt! My surgery was on July 6th and has been a lot harder than I expected. My eye is still swollen closed and painful is I move to fast or bend over and I can't see very well, but I can't stand it any longer. I need to go camping, so once again we are off to Laura Walker State Park. 

It is very hot and the park is just about full. We had to take a site on the outside of the circle, which was not my top pick. I am discovering this heat makes my eye hurt and my balance feels off so I am unsure of my footing; I don't to do much walking. Last night wasn't restful, my 2nd day and night wasn't any better. Guess I am not well enough for camping yet. We checked out early and headed home.


Nap Time for Ms. Georgia & Jerry
The Freedom Deluxe has a table in the back that folds down into a double bed. It also 2 captain chairs on the side with a small table between them. The former owner had replaced the original captain chairs with smaller leather captain chairs which added a little more room. We purchased a memory foam mattress for the bed and leave it made as such all the time.  However we have found that with  Ms. Georgia in the bed it is a little cramped and if she is on the floor we trip over her at night.

Like so many other Casita owners we make a modification to fit our needs. We unbolted the captain chairs under the seats, leaving the base in place, We also removed the little table. Then we placed 2 1"x12" boards side by side, extending from the outside bathroom wall to the edge of the double bed. By drilling holes through the boards to alien with the holds in the pedestals where the chairs were attached we were able to built the 1"x12" in place. A twin size memory foam mattress was cut to fit the 24' platform ( allow a little of the foam to overhang on the outside edge) Use the foam you cut off as a back and you have a little sofa, which can also serve as an extra bed it needed. Ms. Georgia has calmed it for her bed...we are all happy about this.

Ms. Georgia is very happy about her new bed.
As for a table, we eat most of our meals outside or hold our plates in our laps. We also have a little folding TV tray we sometimes, but find it really isn't needed.

Holiday Weekend Trip - July 4, 2010

Ms. Georgia & Me (Cynthia)

Ms. Georgia & Jerry
The Lake @ Laura Walker SP
It is another beautiful weekend for camping! The 4th is on Sunday so I get Monday off also...a three day weekend.  There are still a good many sites open when we arrive but we decided to camp on one that was on the side away from the water. It turned out we liked it much better for holiday weekends. There were not as many kids playing around our campsite as when we were on the water which is much better for resting. We cooked most of our meals on the grill and enjoyed a lot of time outside in the fresh air. Our nights were spent by the campfire until time for bed.  I think Georgia loves camping because she has our undivided attention and she gets lots of long walks each day.

A trip to the doctor on Friday revealed I have a detached retina and will have surgery soon. It may keep me from camping for a couple of weeks, but I should be over it soon. I have had cataract and lasik on both eyes and only missed a couple of days work with each surgery.

Sure wish we had gotten the names of the people who had shown us their Casita last year when camping at Tallulah Gorge. I would love thank them and let them know we now have ours. The only think I know about them was they lived in North Georgia. Maybe I could locate them on one of the Casita Forum Websites.